Life at TawSaeng
With no pictures of us and the kids at TawSaeng posted, it probably looks like we’re big slackers who are just hanging out with elephants all day and haven’t been working at all. But the truth is, we have been working hard with the kids, and been blessed immensely in the process. For the safety of the kids though, we just can’t post any pictures of those amazing times. So, hopefully this will give you a ‘picture’ of our afternoons…
In the early afternoon, we meet with the staff and have a time of worship, teaching and prayer. Larry, the director of TawSaeng, has been focusing this time on getting to know one another and the gifts God has given us. This is leading us into further worship of God for the grace He gives each of us, and bringing us together as we see our unity in Christ. It’s great to be able to work alongside those who are laboring with Christ in Chiang Mai, and pursuing Him no matter the cost.
Around 4pm the kids begin to arrive. For the first hour or so, we play. And we play hard. Some of us have become professional jump-rope swingers and have had to quickly learn the Thai words for ‘slowly’ cha-cha, ‘medium’ bhun-glang and ‘quickly’ reo-reo. The kids are sure to tell us when we have not swung the rope at the exact speed they’ve desired. And for those that aren’t getting scolded for their lack of proficiency in jump-rope swinging, their time is occupied with playing soccer and badminton in an area about the size of a bedroom, reading with kids, drawing, or any number of other crazy and creative things the kids decide to do. For that hour or so, we are completely at their disposal.
After that, on every day of the week there are different English activities. Some days we read an English book to the kids and ask questions about the story. Other days we simply read the story. We’ve also taught them worship songs in English. Just yesterday, a girl I’ve particularly connected with asked me to read Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss to everyone. For those with kids, you understand how foolish it was for me to allow her to select any book on the shelf to read, particularly whenFox in Socks was an option. For those of you without kids, google it. You’ll see what I mean. But in all seriousness, it was such a joy to read the book with the kids and hear them have fun with the rhymes. And to realize just how much my tongue is not made of rubber.
Next, we all have dinner together with the kids and staff. Bhabua or ‘Auntie’ in English, is a wonderful cook and we never go hungry. The kids certainly enjoy the food too. I remember one girl who excitedly told me that she was having her third bowl for the night. Needless to say, all the food is crazy good. I’ve also noticed that the kids, especially the youngest boys, eat very quickly. This means more time to play. So it doesn’t surprise me one bit.
In the evenings, the children split into three English classes. Kelly, Merari and Lindsay help with the Dolphins (ages 5-8). Chrissy and I help with the Penguins (ages 9-10). And Tessa and Lucy help with the Tigers (ages 11-14). We’ve all noticed how much energy these kids have, regardless of their age. Though we all speak English, none of us have had any significant training in teaching English, so it’s very humbling to be used by God in this way. We’re put in positions where we must look to God for strength and wisdom, and I wouldn’t ask for it to be any other way. One of the things we’ve been asked to do is to create skits that the kids will present to all the classes in a week or so. Even though we won’t be there to see them perform, we are so happy to help them prepare for that big day. I’ve really liked this process of creating skits and doing things I know nothing about. It puts me in a place where I can better understand my dependency on God, and better see how He is providing for everything, including the creative ideas for these skits.
Something God has also made clearer to me as a result of helping at TawSaeng, is just how much He wants me to know His strength, and my weakness. He wants to be the One supplying all my strength, so that He receives glory in whatever He chooses to accomplish through me. Most mornings we have been visiting other organizations, and then going to TawSaeng right after. With the long days, it’s easy to feel tired and think that I don’t have the energy to run around with a kid, or two, on my back. But in those times, I’m looking at myself instead of where I should be, into the eyes of my Creator. With my eyes fixed on Him, He gives strength to carry out His will—to love and share His love with these children, so that they might shine brightly for Him in this neighborhood.
Join us in praying for God’s will to be accomplished.